Chennai faced a massive shut down of bars following the Supreme Court’s ruling. Good news: they might all be opening up right back. Better news: There still are amazing places you can get a drink at.
Here are 6+ amazing bars you can go to get great cocktails and have a good evening. Or afternoon. Or literally any time of the day you like.
Located in the Legends Hotel in T-Nagar, Sudaka is a South American restobar. Though you won’t hear any Samba or see anyone salsa dancing, you will find a plate of empanadas that go great with a pint. What I really like about Sudaka though is their cocktails. You can get a classic margarita and also a super funky vodka cocktail with a berry and chilly reduction. It’s not too loud in the early evening which means you can have a conversation across the table and as the night progresses, and your group gets buzzed, the music will be just right to shake a leg.
Fun Fact: The place is fondly remembered by a few of us at Unmetric as the place where a certain someone touched another man’s beard without consent. Ask Peter in the comments if you want the full story.
Ranjani Recommends: Breaded Humita, Monalisa
Find Sudaka on Facebook.
2. Secret Society
If you’re around R.A Puram, Secret Society is the place to be. The place has fascinating interiors, good snacks, and has the BEST cocktails. I’m a beer drinker myself, but when you see the magic that is their cotton candy cocktail, you’re going to want one too. The place is new but has already been hosting Jazz evenings and Karaoke nights – not too many of those in Chennai.
Ranjani Recommends: All their crafted cocktails – especially their take on the pinacolada. .
Find Secret Society on Facebook.
3. Radio Room
You’ll always find a young (but not college young!) crowd at Radio Room. The place is located in Somerset, MRC Nagar and has grown to be one of the city’s favorites. Their food menu is crisp and the bar menu spoils you with choice. If you’re going over the weekend, remember to reserve a table or get there early.
Top Tip: Radio Room enforces the ‘stag’ rule on Friday and Saturday evenings. There should be an equal number of women in your group otherwise you might be denied entry.
Ranjani Recommends: A cold beer and their Mushroom Feta Puff.
Find Radio Room on Facebook.
The place is pleasant, well lit and sophisticated. If you’re like me and enjoy your food just as much as your drink, you’ll appreciate M’Bessy. Finger food or a whole meal, the food menu has something you’ll like. Not a big fan of excessively sweet cocktails? The bar menu includes drinks that those with a complex palate will definitely appreciate.
Ranjani Recommends: Sazerac, Gourmet Special, and Roasted Bell Pepper & Lemon Asparagus Tacos
Find M’Bessy on Zomato.
Beach facing bar in Besant Nagar. Need I say more? Though the place is small, the view and the vibes make up for it. The beer is cold and the nachos, extra cheesy. Go to Boats for a fun evening and follow that with a stroll on the beach.
Ranjani Recommends: Beer and molaga bajji.
Find Boats on Facebook.
6. Bay 146
Located inside Savera hotel, Bay146 is in the heart of the city. The place constantly hosts bands and stand-up comics. Be sure to go there on weekends to experience some homegrown entertainment. The live performances add to the electric ambiance of the place.
Ranjani Recommends: Ask for their boot glasses for your beer. It changes nothing except the added photo op for your social media profiles. Totally worth it.
Find Bay 146 on Facebook.
Special Mention & Personal Favorite
10 Downing Street
Fondly known as 10D, this bar is friendly, humble and always packed! At 10D you’ll find a diverse crowd. I’ve seen college kids, bachelorette parties, expats, corporate professionals, and even families. Though it’s nostalgia that keeps a lot of regulars coming back, you’re sure to grow fond of the place thanks to its English interiors and friendly staff. Thursdays are Karaoke nights, so go prepared to belt out a few songs.
Ranjani Recommends: All their lunch combos. The price is pocket friendly, and the food is lip smacking.
Find 10D on Facebook.
There of course are dozens of other great places you can go to for a drink. This is a short compilation of a few of Chennai’s best from my extremely biased view. Ask or give me recommendations in the comments.
Watch out for a list of local street food joints in the city coming soon. Warning: It’s only for the experimental expats.